Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sudden Death Playtest results phase 1

Sudden Death Ninja Attack card layout concept
Concept for the card border.
+Erik McGrath

Last week we sent out a call for playtesting using our Print and Play document and the first batch of feedback has been received and reviewed.

There were a lot of useful suggestions and several things that came up from almost every tester and it's those latter suggestions that I will focus on now.

1) Attack Order

The number one point of confusion is how cards are played, so we will be making a sample of play document and video in the near future. Specifically, people tend to infer that there is a turn sequence where one person plays a card, the opponent responds and then the process begins again with the opponent playing an attack.

In retrospect I can see how that opinion is formed, but it is not how we intended Sudden Death to operate. Instead, the first attack card played creates a chain of events that has no gaps unless they are created with a Withdraw card. Each Melee, Trap, or Ranged attack not only defeats the card before it but must be responded to in turn.

Example: CJ vs Erik: CJ goes First
Circling Phase
CJ: Katana (melee)
Erik: Punji (trap)
CJ: Arrow (ranged)
Erik: Kusari-gama (dual melee/ranged, played as melee)
CJ: Smoke Bomb (withdraw vs melee or trap)
Return to Circling Phase

2) Keyword updates and clarifications

The wording has been tightened and all terms printed on the cards will be clearly defined keywords. Foil has been removed and the Withdraw cards are now Reaction type.  Draw, Discard and Reveal will now specify specifically who does the action (so it will be You Draw 3, or They Discard 2).  This should allow us to develop more card types and actions without having to change our style in the future.

Additionally, we have added new keywords, most importantly:
Negate for Antidote and Heavy Cloak so that they simply remove the card draw/discard effect as appropriate.
Effect for fire and poison
Dual for Kusari-gama, Cunning Decoy and Crossbow.

3) Cards with multiple keywords

There are 3 dual attacks (melee/ranged, ranged/trap, melee/trap), 3 attacks with the fire effect and 3 with poison. The dual attacks can be used in more instances than other attacks but once played they are identical to any other attack. Only one of the attack types is used and it is declared when played, the other type is ignored. So if Crossbow is used as a trap then it must be countered with a ranged attack.

Cards with an effect (fire or poison) can be defeated by any card that beats either their attack type OR their effect type.  So Poison Gas (a poison melee attack) can be defeated with a trap (counters melee) or an Antidote (withdraws from poison, negates poison effect).

4) Changes and improvements

Traps can now initiate attacks, instead of being only able to respond to melee attacks.  Insight now reveals the opponent's entire hand. Art of Misdirection now makes the opponent discard 2 cards. One additional action (Know Your Enemy) and reaction (Copycat) are planned. Know You Enemy steals a card from your opponent's hand and Copycat reflects an attack back at your opponent (thanks +Graeme Henson for the copycat idea).